From SM to voice over artist….
Thirty years ago on this very day, I was wending my way to the BBC training centre in Evesham, Worcestershire, having completed my degree course in Drama, Theatre & Television Studies.
I was nervous, excited and oh so happy to be starting my career with the BBC as a Radio Studio Manager (SM)! Those were the days of chinagraph pencils, reel-to-reels, splicing tape and razor blades. The days when the sky was a-swirl with pterodactyls!
We practised our editing late into the night in icy cold studios crammed into little portakabins. We took it in turns to present little programmes, so that everyone could learn which mic’s to use, where to place them, how to mix a programme etc. We learnt about transmitters (I may have yawned during that section, even though they’re very, very important!) and made friends for life.
Much of what I learned in those heady days of radio, I still use today. I may not be cutting & splicing with razor blades, but the principles remain the same – & I can still do a music edit!
My love of sound and of that incredible tool, the microphone continues. I just happen to stand on the other side of it now. Five years after becoming an SM, I defected to the other side of the glass to become an Announcer, working across TV & Radio in various BBC buildings. Except of course, it was never ‘just’ announcing or news reading. It was pressing lots of lovely buttons & transmitting all the chunks of goodness that make a TV channel or a radio station as well: Programmes, subtitles, trails, promo’s, idents, outside broadcasts etc etc. Oh I could tell you some stories! I spent twenty glorious years with the BBC & I’ve been privileged to have been asked to return to provide coaching in recent years, too.
I may have left the BBC more than a decade ago, but cut me in half & like a stick of rock, you’ll find those three letters stamped through my core.
To those who taught us so well, had faith in our skills, encouraged us, imbued us with a passion for sound and insisted that we must ‘always normal the desk’ after use. Thank you. You helped to make me the voice over artist I am today.